The Big Book of British Airports

It’s currently 23:00 on the nose, in whatever timezone EGLL is in and whatever its name is at the moment. I’ve been here for about two hours now, an hour of which was spent loitering in the baggage claims area waiting for my bag to show up (it didn’t). I couldn’t believe that, despite 3+ hour connection times in both Calgary and Toronto, Air Canada still managed some heretofore unknown level of incompetence by losing my bag. Except, not so much. As I was going through the process of filing the report (the “hey, jackasses” report, in the parlance of the trade), I noticed that my bag was lying off to the side, waiting for me. “Oh, it came in on an earlier flight,” the Guy Behind The Counter said. How I’m not sure. I thought one of the tenets of air travel security these days was that bags had to accompany passengers on their aircraft, though I suppose since I had no way of knowing whether the bag would or wouldn’t be on my particular plane the risk was lower than it would have otherwise been.

Heathrow is.. how to put this gently? Not nice. D. told me this earlier in the year and nothing she said could have prepared me for how truly ugly some parts of this airport are. I came into Terminal 3 and am now in Terminal 2 arrivals (thank you, late-night ACA arrival, and early-morning AZA departure, for making it impossible for me to sleep tonight!), and I passed through some seriously decrepit parts of the airport. It’s dingy. It’s dirty. People smoke. Everywhere. Even when they’re not supposed to. (About this, more later.) It’s maddening. But, I don’t have to spend a lot of time here, so that’s nice. Still, of the many airports I’ve been in, I definitely would but this one lower down on the list.

Except.. if you’re a plane nerd, this is heaven on earth. True, you won’t see a lot of variety in the types of aircraft, but the airlines! Oh my. Where else are you going to come face-to-face with a fabled Emirates 747-400 parked next to a Virgin Atlantic A340 (“4 engines 4 long haul”) next to a Royal Saudi 767 next to United next to.. maybe KJFK. I dunno. I’ve never been there. But the glimpses out the windows as I walked into the terminal were tantalizing!

I’m sending this on an Internet cafe-esque terminal in the T2 arrivals area. It’s being sent by e-mail because, for some inexplicable reason, it thinks that the LJ update form contains too many banned terms. I’ve never posted by e-mail before, so let’s hope this works.

And let’s hope I get some rest tonight, here on the ugly carpet of T2 Arrivals, because I’m going to be a damned zombie tomorrow if I don’t. Istanbul, here I come.